About this Recording
8.550074 - MOZART: Flute Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / Andante, K. 315

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Flute Concerto In G Major, K. 313
Allegro maestoso
Adagio non troppo
Rondo: Tempo di Menuetto
Flute Concerto In D Major, K.314
Allegro aperto
Andante ma non troppo Allegro
Andante In C, K. 315

The two flute concertos and the concerto Mozart wrote for flute and harp were the direct result of his attempt to escape from the restrictions of his native Salzburg, with its limited musical opportunities. As a child prodigy he had amazed Europe, and an indulgent patron, the then Archbishop of Salzburg, had allowed Leopold Mozart, Vice-Kapellmeister at Salzburg, freedom to travel with his two children in concert tours that took the family away for years at a time.

The succession of a new archbishop in 1772 brought an end to this freedom, while Mozart and his father constantly strove to find some position for the young composer that would bring much greater distinction. It was this ambition, fostered by Leopold Mozart, that led his son in 1777 to resign his position in Salzburg and seek his fortune elsewhere. The archbishop, indeed, was willing to see both Mozarts leave his service, but this Leopold Mozart could not afford. He remained at his post in Salzburg, while his son set out, accompanied by his mother, on a journey that was to take him to Munich, Augsburg, Mannheim and finally Paris.

Travelling in their own chaise, Mozart and his mother set out on 23rd September, 1777. They spent seventeen days in Munich, where the Elector had nothing to offer, followed by a fortnight in Leopold Mozart's native city of Augsburg. On 30th October they reached Mannheim, the then seat of the Elector Carl Theodor, who kept an orchestra that had won international fame.

Mannheim had other attractions for Mozart. It was here that he met for the first time the Weber family and embarked on a flirtation with the sixteen-year-old Aloysia Weber, a young singer with whom, to his father's alarm, he planned a concert tour of Italy.

The connection with the Webers was to continue, as Frau Weber, after the death of her husband, uncle of the composer Carl Maria von Weber and copyist at Mannheim, moved with her daughters to Vienna, in search of suitable husbands for them. Mozart was to be jilted by Aloysia, for whom Frau Weber found a materially more advantageous match, but he was eventually to marry Constanze, a dowerless younger daughter, to the expressed surprise of the Emperor and the dismay of his father.

In 1777, however, this still lay ahead. Mannheim had manifold musical attractions, but no position for Mozart. Nevertheless he lingered there through the winter, and through his friendship with the flautist Wendling made the acquaintance of a Dutchman, whose name appears variously as De Jean and "M. de champs" in Mozart's letters to his anxious father. De Jean had been an army doctor in Muenster and in 1758, at the age of 27, had travelled to Batavia where he was employed as a surgeon by the East India Company. It is for this reason that Mozart refers to him in his letters as "our Indian". De Jean had wide interests and a wide circle of friends, including the doctor who was to attend Mozart on his death-bed in 1791. More to our purpose, he was an amateur flautist and a man of means, and commissioned from Mozart three little, easy, short flute concertos and a couple of flute quartets, for which he promised the sum of 200 florins.

The promised fee was to be a recurrent topic in letters exchanged between Mozart and his father during the following weeks. Mozart had no particular love of the flute and showed a certain indolence in fulfilling his obligation to De Jean, a man canny enough not to pay in advance for the music he had ordered. By February, however, Mozart had written the two flute concertos we now have and three quartets, for which De Jean had given half the money. In a letter written during his return journey from Paris on 3rd October of the following year we hear again that De Jean will pay later, a financial arrangement that must have confirmed Leopold Mozart's worst doubts of his son's business acumen.

It is possible that the Andante in C, for flute, with an orchestra of two oboes, two horns and strings, was also written in Mannheim in the early months of 1778, as part of De Jean's commission, although some have suggested a date after Mozart's return to Salzburg, in 1779 or 1780. The single movement has a charm of its own, with its brief plucked string introduction, a recurrent element, and poignant melodic material.

Whatever reservations Mozart may have expressed about the flute itself, his compositions for the instrument are works of characteristically rich melodic invention and equally characteristic clarity of form and texture, allowing those for whom they were written a share in the immortality of their composer.

Herbert Weissberg
The Austrian flautist Herbert Weissberg was born in Vienna in 1939. He studied the flute with Hans Reznicek at the Vienna Music Academy, where he was a conducting pupil of Hans Swarowsky and a piano pupil of Richard Hauser. He later undertook further study in Music and Theatre at Vienna University, before becoming a principal flautist in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. His career has involved him in work in chamber music, as a soloist and as a conductor, with concert tours in Europe, America and the Far East, recordings and broadcast performances.

Capella Istropolitana (Slovak Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra)
The Capella Istropolitana is a chamber orchestra formed by leading members of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava. Founded in 1983, the chamber orchestra allows the players, many of them experienced soloists, to playas chamber musicians. Much of the work of the orchestra has been concentrated on the recording studio.

Martin Sieghart
Martin Sieghart was born in Vienna, where he studied at the Academy of Music before joining the Vienna Symphony Orchestra as a principal cellist. He was a member of the Vienna Instrumental Soloists and of the Concentus Musicus of Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Die Reihe Ensemble under Friedrich Cerha. He founded a chamber orchestra based on the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and his own choir, with which he directed many performances.

In 1979 Martin Sieghart conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra for the first time at the opening of the Bregenz Festival and was from 1984 to 1986 the orchestra's Assistant Conductor. He has more recently extended his activities to appearances with other European orchestras in a wide repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the avant-garde.

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